KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has admitted that it may take up to three years to fix the government’s finances, resulting in Budget 2019 not being as good as the rakyat might hope, Bernama reported.
The Budget 2019 will be tabled by Lim in the Dewan Rakyat on November 2.
“We must fix our fiscal finances while improving the wellbeing of the rakyat. We hope the people will understand that it will take us three years to do so,” he told Bernama in an interview last night.
He cited the reduced revenue with the abolition of the goods and services tax (GST) and the introduction of the sales and services tax (SST).
Under the SST, the government expects to collect RM21 billion next year, as opposed to RM44 billion under the GST.
He defended the move to abolish the GST however, saying that “the improved SST implementation, will see the government ‘return’ about RM23 billion to the people”.
Price hikes? Don’t blame SST, its demand-supply factor
The DAP secretary-general also said any hike in the price of goods from now could not be blamed solely on the SST.
“Basically, prices of goods and services are determined by demand and supply in the market.
“Aside from that, the SST only accounts for 38% of the Consumer Price Index basket of goods compared with 60% under the GST,” Lim told the national news agency.
Be wise consumers
He also urged the people to become wise consumers by taking actions like lodging reports with the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, boycotting overpriced products and exposing wrongdoings by going viral on social media.
“Consumers should buy goods and services when they were absolutely necessary, compare prices and get value for money for the products purchased, and make market research beforehand,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
According to Lim, the SST should ideally boost consumer confidence and in time, increase investor confidence, and with that help the country’s economy to grow further.